Prep Basketball

Dowling edges Cedar Rapids Washington for girls' state basketball berth

Warriors let a 15-point lead, and a trip to Des Moines, slip away

CEDAR RAPIDS — Emma Gipple didn’t expect a quick fix.

“We knew that 32 minutes would be what we needed,” she said.

It took every minute, and every second to decide this one.

Gipple hit both ends of a one-and-one with nine seconds remaining, and ninth-ranked West Des Moines Dowling sidestepped a last-second 3-point try to edge No. 8 Cedar Rapids Washington, 44-42, in a Class 5A girls’ basketball regional final Tuesday night at Washington High School.

The Maroons (11-6) rallied from an early 15-point deficit and advance to the state tournament for the 22nd time. They’ll face No. 1 Waukee (10-1) in a 5A quarterfinal at 9 a.m. Monday at Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines.

“We fought,” Dowling Coach Kristin Meyer said. “We defended better in the second half. We rebounded better.

“We’ll take it.”

Washington (13-4) led for the first 28 minutes, then lost a back-and-forth battle at the end. The Warriors had good flow early, but had trouble finishing. They led 22-7 midway through the second quarter, and frankly, could have led by a lot more.

“We didn’t make a lot of shots,” Warriors Coach Chris James said. “Then we got stagnant in the second half.”

Down 25-15 at halftime, the Maroons got within 31-28 by the end of the third quarter, then got even at 33-33 on Ella McVey’s free throw with 4:06 to go.

McVey delivered a 3-pointer for Dowling’s first lead, 38-37, at the 2:45 mark.

Washington’s Hannah Stuelke answered with a bucket to give the Warriors their final advantage, 39-38, then added another with 0:45 remaining to tie it, 42-42.

But Stuelke fouled Gipple on the perimeter on the next possession, and Gipple made the Warriors pay.

Lucci O’Donnell got a good look at a 3-pointer from the right baseline for Washington’s final hope, but it rimmed out at the buzzer.

Dowling prevailed despite a 2-for-22 shooting effort from long range, and start-to-finish foul trouble for post Lexi Boles, who picked up her fifth with 3:38 left.

“We did a better job helping on Stuelke in the lane in the second half, and McVey did a fantastic job defensively against (Washington’s Sydney) Mitvalsky,” Meyer said. “That was huge.”

A junior and a University of Iowa commit, Stuelke finished with 23 points and 18 rebounds, but hit just 10 of 24 from the field and 3 of 11 from the line. Deja Redmond added seven points and nine boards.

Mitvalsky was held to two points.

Gipple paced Dowling with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

WEST DES MOINES DOWLING 44, CEDAR RAPIDS WASHINGTON 42

Class 5A Regional Final, at C.R. Washington

WEST DES MOINES DOWLING (44): Ella McVey 1-8 1-2 4, Margaret Tobias 3-8 2-2 9, Maddie Wishman 0-6 0-0 0, Emma Gipple 8-12 3-3 19, Lexi Boles 2-5 1-3 5, Lauryn Frerichs 0-4 1-2 1, Paige Hobbs 0-0 0-0 0, Julia Moore 2-5 2-3 6, Olivia Bailey 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-49 10-15 44.

C.R. WASHINGTON (42): Sydney Mitvalsky 1-7 0-0 2, Aeri Thomas 0-3 0-0 0, Jaliea Havel 3-10 0-0 6, Hannah Stuelke 10-24 3-11 23, Deja Redmond 3-7 1-2 7, Sydney Engledow 0-1 0-0 0, Lucci O’Donnell 0-2 2-2 2, Keara Powers 1-2 0-0 2, Jocelyn Doyle 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-56 6-15 42.

Halftime: Washington 25, Dowling 15. 3-point goals: Dowling 2-22 (McVey 1-7, Tobias 1-5, Wishman 0-4, Boles 0-1, Frerichs 0-3, Moore 0-1, Bailey 0-1), Washington 0-7 (Mitvalsky 0-1, Thomas 0-2, Engledow 0-1, O’Donnell 0-2, Powers 0-1). Team fouls: Dowling 17, Washington 15. Fouled out: Boles. Rebounds: Dowling 34 (Gipple 11), Washington 42 (Stuelke 18). Assists: Dowling 4 (four with 1), Washington 5 (Havel 3). Steals: Dowling 8 (McVey, Moore 2), Washington 6 (Mitvalsky 3). Turnovers: Dowling 14, Washington 14.

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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